A friend emails to alert me to the following interesting timeline:
May 27: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visits Islamabad with a list of five top militant leaders that Washington would like to see dead. One of them is Ilyas Kashmiri, a terrorist leader who is close to al-Qaeda and suspected of playing a role in both the Mumbai massacre of 2008 and several attacks within Pakistan, including last month’s attack on a naval base in Karachi.
May 29: Syed Saleem Shahzad, the Pakistan Bureau Chief for Asia Times Online, disappears. Shahzad, who has been critical of Pakistan’s ISI and has exposed its cooperation with al-Qaeda elements, is known to have had contacts with Kashmiri and other jihadists.
May 31: Shahzad is found in a canal 80 miles outside of Islamabad, tortured and beaten. His cell phone is wiped clean from the previous 18 days.
June 3: Kashmiri is reportedly killed in a U.S. drone attack.
My friend asks: did the ISI simply kill a journalist who embarrassed the government and the military? Or did they torture his contacts out of him, as they’ve done to journalists before, on our behalf?
There are other alternatives, of course, including the possibility that the ISI had nothing to do with either Shahzad’s death or the drone attack on Kashmiri. They just aren’t very plausible. There’s probably a pretty good story here for an enterprising reporter who’s not afraid of ISI reprisals.